At the KDKA-TV debate, tough questions also came from moderator Ken Rice, who noted that Mr. Ravenstahl's campaign commercials say he faced the city's "fiscal situation head-on and made the tough decisions" to keep the budget sound. The new taxes and budget cuts that kept the city out of bankruptcy were really the work of state government, Mr. Rice noted.
Mr. Ravenstahl defended himself a bit but finally conceded the point. "It's not simply me. If that's somewhat misleading, I apologize," he said. (P-G, Rich Lord)
The Tribune-Review actually chose to lead with that news.
Mr. Dowd noted that Mr. Ravenstahl voted against the city's recovery plan twice as a North Side councilman in 2004. "Tough decisions were not made when the mayor was a city councilman. For him to sit here and tell you he has done [these] things is actually the most disingenuous thing you can imagine."
"He's full of half-truths," Ms. Robinson said. "You're right to point out he is not completely honest." (ibid)
Good answer. We also would have accepted "is a compulsive liar".
Dowd asked Ravenstahl why he authorized spending $250,000 to buy 250 steel trash cans printed with Ravenstahl's name for city neighborhoods.
"That money could have been spent better revitalizing a community," Dowd said.
Ravenstahl was prepared for the question. Holding a copy of an e-mail, he said a staff member of Dowd's office requested new trash cans for Dowd's district.
"Neighborhood advocates wanted it, you wanted it and now you're running for mayor and you don't want it, and it's unfortunate," Ravenstahl replied. (Trib, Jeremy Boren)
That's an interesting comeback. In that e-mail, did Dowd ask for $1,000 luxury cans? Did he ask for $1,000 luxury cans with Luke Ravenstahl's name on them? Did he ask for $1,000 luxury cans with Luke Ravenstahl's name on them via a no-bid contract awarded to his cronies in Harrisburg?
Because if not, that's a pretty transparent smokescreen.
Which city neighborhoods needs the most attention? Dowd: Hazelwood; Ravenstahl: North Side; Robinson: Homewood because of the violence. (ibid)
"North Side" isn't a neighborhood, it's about a third of the city. That's a good way to cast one's net as widely as possible -- he might as well have answered "the part that's on land" -- but as an East Allegheny or "Deutschtown" resident that reductive terminology has always grated.*
*-UPDATE: - Just watched it. During a later "rapid fire" question, he did clarify that the North Side is 13 different neighborhoods. And his selection of "North Side" to begin with was sort of tongue-in-cheek. My apologies.
Mr. Ravenstahl leapt into the fray when he got there. His foes, he said, "continuously talk about me and make this campaign about Luke Ravenstahl and my administration.
"I have chosen to make it about you," he told the few dozen people in the Sunnyside Elementary School auditorium. (P-G)
All together now: YOU ARE THE INCUMBENT. When your opponents criticize your record, they are TALKING ABOUT THE CITY, they are TALKING ABOUT HOW THEY WOULD RUN IT IN A DIFFERENT AND THEREFORE SUPERIOR FASHION.
I know Luke's elaborate sensitivity to criticism is a "political tactic" or whatever, but he really deserves to be lampooned for it.